We’ve settled into fall and the air is turning crisp and cool. Though most of us would prefer to reminisce over how we spent the summer, it’s time to give serious thought to preparing for winter.
Remember last winter?
It was the coldest winter Toronto has experienced in twenty years. The harsh winter caught many of us unaware, and left homeowners, businesses and governments reeling from the unexpected impact and costs. Most homeowners realize how essential it is to winterize their homes, but don’t forget about your garage. It needs winter weather prep, too.
What can you do to prepare your garage for the snowy winter ahead? Here are four steps that will help you get your garage ready for winter.
Clean Up Your Act
During the activity of summer it’s easy for the garage to become a family dumping ground. Maybe you’ve even resorted to parking your vehicles outside, rather than vying for space inside the garage. However, with snow and cold weather headed our way in the coming months, now is the time to carve out space for your vehicles and all of your winter weather supplies, like shovels, salt and your trusty snow blower.
Begin your winter weather prep by cleaning out your garage. Sort through all of the items stored in your garage. Honestly assess which items are needed and which should go. Be brutal. Toss broken items, including the ones you’ve been planning to fix for the past five years. Donate items in good condition that are duplicates or that your family no longer uses.
Still having trouble deciding what should stay and what should get the old heave-ho? Here are a few questions to consider:
- Do I trulyneed this item?
- How likely is it that we’ll use it again?
- If I’m not using it, why am I really holding onto this item?
- Could someone else use it?
- If it’s broken, is it worth fixing? How likely am I to fix the item (or get it fixed)?
- Does this item fit with my current lifestyle?
- Which is more important: holding onto this item or parking inside the garage?
Once you’ve pared down the volume of items stored in the garage, it’s the perfect time to spruce it up. Sweep floors, dust for cobwebs, clean the garage door and give the floor a good scrub.
Create a Plan
Now that you can see how much space you’re working with, it’s time to devise a plan for organizing your items. Ask yourself:
- What is my objective?
- What additional items need to go into the garage?
- Is there room for the snow blower?
- Which items should be grouped together? (More on this later.)
- Where should each item be placed for easiest access?
Map out a plan that will allow you to safely store all items while also accommodating any vehicles you’d like to park in the garage.
Floor space is at a premium in the typical garage. Don’t limit yourself to perimeter floor space. Install a wall organizer system, or have one installed by a garage interior design expert. Storing items vertically in baskets, or on shelves and hooks, reserves floor space for larger items and for vehicle parking.
Still need more space? Look up. If your garage has wasted overhead space, as most do, you could add valuable storage space by getting overhead storage platforms installed.Before you give your plan the green light, make sure it includes task-related zones.
Create Task-Oriented Zones
While creating your plan, you considered which items should be grouped together. This question is essential and deserves further discussion. Creating task-oriented zones will help keep your garage organized throughout the year.
Carefully consider all of the activities that take place in your garage. Keep seasonal and related items together. Create a car care zone, one for yard care and another for winter sports gear. Shift winter gear to a prime space and store summer items where they are less accessible.
Ideally, winter yard maintenance equipment and supplies should be stored close to the garage door for easy access to the driveway. However, not all sidewalls can accommodate a snow blower while still allowing room to park vehicles inside. If this is the case in a two-car garage, try storing the snow blower on the back wall near the center of the garage. This will allow you to exit the garage between the vehicles parked inside.
Winterize Your Garage (and Everything in It)
Now that your garage is decluttered and organized, it’s time to make sure that everything is ready for that first icy blast of Arctic air.
- Replace the batteries in your garage door openers.
- Check garage door weather stripping and replace, if needed.
- Check all moving parts of the garage door. Get any missing or broken parts repaired.
- Lubricate garage door rollersand hinges for smooth operation all winter.
- Ensure that the safety reverse sensor is functional. If not, adjust sensors or have them repaired.
- Drain water from hoses, purge sprinkler system and shut off water supply to exterior spigot.
Take advantage of cool, comfortable fall temperatures by preparing your home and garage for the winter ahead. Once you’ve decluttered your garage and created a plan of action that includes task-oriented zones, it’s time to put that plan into action. Store any items that can’t be stored vertically or overhead around the perimeter of your garage. Stack or nest like items, like flower pots or storage bins, to maximize space.